The New Era of Work

The landscape of work has been radically transformed, with flexible work arrangements becoming increasingly prevalent. While this shift promises enhanced employee well-being and productivity, its actual impact is more nuanced, as highlighted in the recent Harvard Business Review article, “Flexible Work Is Having a Mixed Impact on Employee Well-Being and Productivity.”

This blog post aims to distill the key messages from the article and emphasize the critical need for managers and leaders to develop coaching skills to effectively interact with their staff in this new work environment.

Understanding the Mixed Impact of Flexible Work

The transition to flexible work arrangements has brought about a mixed bag of outcomes. On the one hand, employees enjoy greater autonomy and work-life balance. On the other hand, it has introduced challenges such as blurring the lines between personal and professional life, potentially leading to burnout and isolation. This complexity necessitates a nuanced approach to managing and supporting staff.

The Crucial Role of Managers and Leaders

In this evolving work scenario, the role of managers and leaders becomes more pivotal than ever. They are not just taskmasters but play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being and productivity of their teams. Understanding and addressing the unique challenges of flexible work requires a skill set that goes beyond traditional management practices.

The Power of Coaching Skills

  1. Empathetic Listening: Managers trained in coaching skills are adept at empathetic listening. This allows them to understand the specific challenges their staff faces in a flexible work environment, from managing time to dealing with isolation.
  2. Effective Communication: Coaching skills equip leaders with the tools to communicate clearly and effectively, setting expectations, and providing feedback that motivates and empowers their team.
  3. Facilitating Growth and Development: Managers with coaching skills can help their team set realistic goals, encouraging personal and professional growth amidst the challenges of flexible work.
  4. Creating a Supportive Environment: Coaching skills enable leaders to foster a culture of support and understanding, where employees feel valued and recognized, enhancing their engagement and productivity.

Training Managers on Well-being Conversations

In the context of flexible work, the well-being of employees is as crucial as their productivity. Training managers and leaders on how to engage in meaningful conversations about well-being is imperative.

  1. Recognizing Signs of Burnout: Leaders should be trained to recognize the signs of burnout and address them proactively.
  2. Promoting Work-Life Balance: Encouraging and modeling healthy work-life boundaries is vital in a flexible work environment.
  3. Encouraging Open Dialogue: Creating a safe space for employees to voice their challenges and concerns can lead to more collaborative solutions.
  4. Providing Resources and Support: Leaders should be equipped to guide their team to the appropriate resources, whether it’s for professional development or mental health support.

The Path Forward

As we navigate this new norm, the importance of equipping managers and leaders with coaching skills cannot be overstated. The ability to guide, support, and motivate teams in a flexible work environment is crucial for the well-being and productivity of employees. Investing in the development of these skills is not just beneficial but essential for the success of organizations in this new era of work.

In conclusion, the shift to flexible work arrangements brings with it the need for a shift in how we manage and lead. By fostering coaching skills and focusing on well-being conversations, managers can effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities this new era presents.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sophie



Brecheisen, J. (2023, October 16). Flexible work is having a mixed impact on employee well-being and productivity. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from